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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 22:30 GMT
Delta pilots agree to 14% pay cut
Airport screen showing Delta logo
Delta is the third-largest carrier in the US
Pilots at troubled US airline Delta have voted to approve a 14% pay cut to help the bankrupt carrier survive an expected cash crunch.

Atlanta-based Delta, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, said the interim measure would save $143m (83m) a year.

This was the second double-digit salary cut Delta's 6,000 airline pilots have accepted in the last 13 months.

Their average salary of about $170,000 a year will now fall to about $146,000.

Critical time

The agreement adds to the $1bn in annual concessions Delta pilots agreed to in a five-year deal reached with the airline in 2004.

This provides much needed financial relief
Gerald Grinstein, chief executive

Now that its pilots have ratified the interim deal, the US airline and the Air Line Pilots Association are free to hammer out a more comprehensive agreement.

But if a deal is not reached by 1 March, the two sides will allow a decision to be made by a three-person arbitration panel, they said.

"Given the critical nature of our financial situation, this provides much needed financial relief while we seek to reach a comprehensive agreement with ALPA," said Delta's chief executive Gerald Grinstein.

Delta has lost more than $11bn and cut more than 20,000 jobs over the last five years.

Last week, it applied for a six-month extension to file its $3bn reorganisation plan, which had been due on 12 January.

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